How many souls did Keats set free
when he wrote Nightingale’s Ode
‘neath a merry plum tree?
How many empyries, gone to dust
in future time or ages past
did Shelley in Ozymandias rust?
What fires of cosmic delight
did Blake kindle as lamp Eternal
to light our Tyger-haunted night?
What weary soul’s refrain did Poe
pluck from raven’s heart-sick beak
in summation of all earthly woe?
How did Yeats define the Gyre,
or Donne don in romantic attire
a flea’s bloodlust as lust to admire?
How did Dickinson demarcate time
in waltzes of unruliest rhyme,
or Whitman absolve Nature of all crime?
How sweetly does Rumi enounce an air –
or Neruda sing to love come of night?
& what – what flowers of Baudelaire!
Coleridge’s mariner parched for drink –
Shakespeare’s language at luscious brink.
Millay dazzles to dreamery: you cannot think!
The hows & whys of Wilde’s wit –
Chatterton dead, by loveliness bit.
Sphinx’s secret within their wiles,
sacred taper whose torch is ever-lit.
What wonders writ in humble words –
Muses’ milk mingled with honeyed mead
to summate might of Beauty’s deed,
changeful to all who heed, have heard.
[Scott J. Couturier is a poet & prose writer of the Weird, pagan, & darkly fantastic. His work has appeared in numerous venues, including The Audient Void, Spectral Realms, The Dark Corner Zine, Space and Time Magazine, & Weirdbook. Currently, he works as a copy & content editor for Mission Point Press, living an obscure reverie in the wilds of northern Michigan with his partner/live-in editor & two cats.]